War Prayer

Old Blog Import

The following is a quote from an anti-war article Mark Twain submitted in 1905 to Harper’s Bazaar to express his outrage at military intervention in the Philippines. It wasn’t published until 1916. It was cited today in a must-read article by Gary Willis in the NY Times Magazine section, about the role of religion in American military history. The full text of Mark Twain’s original article is here. More on Mark Twain’s anti-imperialism here, and here.

The quote is an ironic war-prayer that attacks those who invoke God to justify American Imperialism:

O Lord our God, help us to tear their soldiers to bloody shreds with our shells; help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale forms of their patriot dead; help us to drown the thunder of the guns with the shrieks of their wounded, writhing in pain; help us to lay waste their humble homes with a hurricane of fire; . . . help us to turn them out roofless with their little children to wander unfriended the wastes of their desolated land. . . . We ask it, in the spirit of love, of Him Who is the Source of Love.”

In case you were wondering why I am quoting this. Take a look at
“>these pictures from Al Jazeera. Or maybe you prefer to look at the pretty smoke on CNN?